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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-03

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, April 3, 2002


  • [01] 'Mea culpa' on impostor visit
  • [02] News in Brief
  • [03] HIV parents face two-year wait over the health of their baby
  • [04] Marchers protest against West Bank violence
  • [05] 550 daughters get ready to work
  • [06] Koshis admits airport security needs to be beefed up
  • [07] Change to voting law proposed
  • [08] Wanted man
  • [09] Interpol ask for help in tracing missing girls
  • [10] Dam good rainfall boosts reservoirs

  • [01] 'Mea culpa' on impostor visit

    By a Staff Reporter

    "MEA culpa" were the words used by Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday to describe the government's error in handling a recent visit by a man falsely claiming to be the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia.

    Papapetrou was referring to a Sunday Mail story, during his daily news briefing, that the government had been left red-faced after it emerged that President Glafcos Clerides was misled into holding talks with Velimir Ilic, who is in fact the mayor of the central Serbian city of Cacak and the head of the opposition New Serbia party, not one of the country's four Deputy Prime Ministers.

    An official Press and Information Office announcement, following the February 21 meeting between Clerides and Ilic, said the two men discussed the promotion of business relations between Cyprus and Serbia. But Papapetrou said that Ilic had come to the island on a private visit and did not discuss anything of substance with the President. "It was a short, formal, courteous visit," and nothing more, he said.

    The spokesman added that this matter had been a lesson to the government and that in future all officials coming to Cyprus would be checked out, particularly if they requested a meeting with the President of the Republic or other government officials.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] News in Brief

    Six workers hospitalised after fumes accident

    SIX construction workers were rushed to Paphos hospital yesterday after being exposed to noxious fumes, police said.

    The six men were working on a hotel building site in Paphos' Coral Bay district, when one of them, a Greek Pontian, lost consciousness because of fumes coming from a diesel-driven water pump he was using in the construction site's basement area.

    Three other Greek Pontian workers rushed to his aid and also lost consciousness, said police.

    The foreman and another Greek Pontian also collapsed, after first having managed to switch off the machine and remove the other four from the basement area.

    Police said all six builders were taken to Paphos Hospital. The foreman received first aid and was released, while the remaining five were kept in for observation. The condition of two of them is considered serious, said police, who are looking into the cause of the accident.

    Man killed in crash

    A 22-year-old man was killed instantly in a car accident early Monday morning on the Pano Platres-Kato Platres road, said police.

    Michalis Christakis Aristidou from Fini village had been reported missing since Monday afternoon when he had not returned home. Yesterday a passer-by spotted the man's car on the side of the road.

    Police said preliminary investigations suggest Aristidou lost control of the car he was driving round a dangerous bend and crashed into a tree.

    The state pathologist, Eleni Antoniou, said yesterday he died instantly upon impact.

    'Significant' tombs found

    TWO tombs found in central Paphos yesterday are considered to be among the most important archaeological finds to date, CyBC reported yesterday.

    The tombs were discovered during work being carried out on the Paphos sewage system outside the town's police headquarters.

    The whole layout of the tombs and surrounding area, as well as a large marble slab blocking the entrance are evidence that this is a significant find, according to archaeologists.

    One of the tombs has not been looted, which is rare.

    Another important fact is the presence of a ladder leading down several metres into the tombs, which suggests a costly structure used for the burial of someone important.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] HIV parents face two-year wait over the health of their baby

    By Alexia Saoulli

    IT WILL take two years before an HIV-positive couple know whether or not their third child is in the clear or not, the head of the Gregoriou AIDS Clinic, Dr Ioannis Demetriades, said yesterday.

    The child's parents, both HIV patients of Demetriades, recently had a third child against medical advice. So far clinical tests have not confirmed whether or not the newborn has been infected with the virus, he said.

    Demetriades was unwilling to specify when the child was born, or what its sex was, for identity and confidentiality purposes.

    "All I can say is that the child was born recently, via caesarean section. This is the procedure we take for all infants born to HIV-positive mothers, because we want to ensure minimal contact with her bodily fluids which could increase the likelihood of contamination," he told the Cyprus Mail.

    "The newborn was then given a cocktail of drugs, prescribed by guidelines from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for a period of time, and now remains under observation as we wait and see whether or not it has contracted the virus."

    This wait, he said, would take 18-24 months before they could say the baby was completely in the clear, because of developmental and biological factors.

    Adults, however, can test positive within only one month of contamination, Demetriades said.

    During the mother's pregnancy and delivery, she received treatment to reduce the virus's concentration in order to avoid the virus being passed on to the child.

    Without this treatment the infant has a 35-40 per cent chance of contamination, he said. With the treatment, it has a five to seven per cent chance.

    "But this percentage is still high," Demetriades said, "which is one of the many reasons why we advise HIV parents not to have children."

    He said if tested positive, the child would have an unfair start to life -- and that HIV parents should know this.

    There was also the possibility that either or both parents could develop AIDS, Demetriades said, which would leave the children orphaned. Another factor is the drug treatment mothers are forced to take.

    "Although to date we haven't had any adverse effects on the child, due to the drug treatment the mother must take during pregnancy, it could happen," he said, adding that one particular drug was being used since 1996 and so far had not affected any children.

    "But we cannot stop them legally. No one can. And so instead must help them through the pregnancy and birth, and see that they receive the best precautionary treatment possible," he said.

    In this particular case, the parents have another two children, both of whom tested negative for the virus.

    "For the time being both parents are also undergoing treatment and are coping," Demetriades said. But although HIV partners could have a healthy normal sex life and should not be discouraged from doing so, it was advisable that they took precautions, he said.

    "We suggest condoms, because although both might have the virus, one strain might be more aggressive than the other, so they need to take precautions for themselves as well."

    The AIDS specialist added that not everyone with HIV necessarily had to undergo drug treatment and that there were certain criteria that patients had to meet.

    "For instance, some people do not have a high concentration of the virus and their immune system is strong, therefore they do not necessarily need to take medication," he said.

    Demetriades said he had had a number of such patients himself and that they were constantly observed.

    "If we see the virus progresses and strengthens and their immune system weakens, then we start various therapies. At the moment there are a number of HIV drugs on the market to choose from, as well as 13-14 different drugs for HIV-positive children," he said.

    He also said that HIV patients did not necessarily develop full-blown AIDS and could die from completely unrelated diseases such as cancer.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Marchers protest against West Bank violence

    By Soteris Charalambous

    AKEL supporters led by party chief Demetris Christofias took to the streets of central Nicosia yesterday to protest against the lack of direct international intervention over the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Christofias called for the international community to apply pressure on Israel and to end the "public humiliation" of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He said the latest violence threatened stability in the Middle-East, blaming Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and attacking the use of military force.

    Another AKEL protest march is planned for Friday evening, starting in Eleftheria Square.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday stressed the government's full solidarity with Arafat, urging dialogue between the sides and offering to "contribute towards practical ways out of the current crisis, whenever this is requested, and offer every facility for the promotion of the peace process".

    Asked about any ramifications for the Cyprus question, Papapetrou said that it was imperative to deal with all regional problems through political means and apply peaceful means to solve them, in accordance with international law.

    A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia yesterday described the events in the West Bank as a "military exercise aimed at eliminating terrorism" and "not an attempt to regain territory". When questioned on the AKEL demonstration, he accepted the right for the peaceful expression of all political views.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] 550 daughters get ready to work

    By Melina Demetriou

    FIVE HUNDRED and fifty schoolgirls will this Friday go to work in the government and the private sectors on the initiative of the Cypriot branch of AMADE (Association Mondiale des Amis de l'Enfance), an international non- governmental organisation.

    Olga Demetriades, chairwoman of AMADE Cyprus, yesterday announced the scheme called ' Let's take our daughters to work.'

    It is the second such programme for girls between the ages of nine and 15 organised by the branch. The first took place two years ago.

    In 2000, 250 Nicosia pupils took part in the project, which aimed to create equal opportunities for men and women at work.

    Demetriades said yesterday that women were not fairly represented in the private and the government sectors, compared with men.

    "This Friday, 550 girls will work in fields that are traditionally male- dominated to boost their self-confidence. Some of them will work at the President's office, some with the Governor of the Central Bank, and others will spend the day at the office of the UN representative in Cyprus," she said.

    "They will have to carry out certain tasks that will be evaluated," she added.

    Demetriades said that the 2000 project had been very successful.

    "In their reports, the girls described the experience as valuable and expressed the desire to have another day at work," she said.

    One of the children who took part in the 2000 scheme said one of her dreams had come true through the project.

    "I really want to become a surgeon, so I spent part of the day watching doctors performing an operation. The operation was successful, and I felt that one of my dreams had come true. I was very happy," the girl said in her report.

    Among the girls taking part in Friday's 'Let's take our daughters to school' project, 150 are from the English school, 50 at the Junior and the Highgate primary schools, 150 at Palouriotissa Gymnasium, and the rest from elementary schools in Nicosia.

    Many pupils will join their parents or relatives at work, while others will be under the responsibility of office heads.

    AMADE has carried out similar projects in the US and Britain.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Koshis admits airport security needs to be beefed up

    By Melina Demetriou

    THERE'S room for improvement in the security at Larnaca Airport, Justice Minister Nicos Koshis admitted yesterday during a meeting of the House Communications Committee. But he gave a reassurance that stricter security measures will be implemented at both of the island's airports by the end of this month.

    Koshis told the committee that Cyprus had an obligation to upgrade security services at Larnaca and Paphos airports by June, when the International Civil Aviation Organisation is due to assess their security standards.

    "By the end of April airport authorities will have to be ready to present us with the results of a complete study on airport security," said the minister.

    Meanwhile, AKEL deputy Kikis Yiangou charged at the same committee meeting yesterday that armed officers of Israeli intelligence service Mossad often boarded Cyprus Airways (CY) aircraft stationed at Tel Aviv Airport.

    He claimed that a bullet had been found recently in the passenger cabin of a CY aircraft after a Tel Aviv to Larnaca flight.

    "On February 22 this year, civil aviation cleaners found a bullet in the airplane's cabin and informed the deputy chief of police, who ordered an investigation into the case," the deputy said.

    Koshis described Yiangou's claims as "exaggerations", arguing that "the International Civil Aviation Organisation will be the one to evaluate airport security, not the House and certainly not Mr Yiangou."

    "It is clear that there are no spies on CY planes, security measures are in place, and we shall improve those measures," the minister said.

    Yiangou insisted that there was inadequate flight security at the Larnaca Airport because of "a lack of a special radar that should have been installed on the airport's control tower".

    Costas Orphanides, the Civil Aviation representative at the meeting, insisted that the airport's radar system was efficient.

    The parliamentary committee will continue its discussion on airport security next week in the presence of Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Change to voting law proposed

    By a Staff Reporter

    IN LIGHT of the expected 2003 presidential elections, Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday he had proposed a bill to the House of Representatives that would allow registered voters who are abroad on polling day to vote. Such voters included students, he said.

    The amendment to the voting bill should be approved or not by the end of June, Christodoulou said.

    Another suggestion the Interior Ministry had made, he said, was to count the votes at the polling stations rather than at district centres.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Wanted man

    By a Staff Reporter

    POLICE said yesterday they are looking for a 28-year-old Kophinou resident, Theodoulos S. Kannas, who is wanted on four outstanding arrest warrants and two outstanding fines.

    Kannas is 1.80 metres tall, with a slender build and dark complexion and short, black hair.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Interpol ask for help in tracing missing girls

    By a Staff Reporter

    POLICE confirmed yesterday they have received a request for help from Interpol in Sweden in the search for two missing Swedish girls.

    Camilla Dagerholm, a brunette, and Christa Siven, blonde, both aged 18, left Sweden by train at the end of January, bound for Genoa in Italy.

    The teenagers are believed to have travelled later to Cyprus and may be staying in Limassol or Ayia Napa.

    The parents of both girls alerted the Swedish authorities when their whereabouts became unclear.

    The authorities here have asked for the help of the public in their attempt to locate the missing girls and ask that any information about them be reported to the CID or a local police station.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Dam good rainfall boosts reservoirs

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE ISLAND'S reservoirs were 54.7 per cent full yesterday, compared with 22.1 per cent at the same time last year, the Agriculture Ministry has said.

    It puts down the 32.6 per cent increase in water to above average rainfall during the October-March period.

    Over the past six months rainfall was 117 per cent higher than normal, although March only averaged 78 per cent for the month.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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